Organizers of the Black Ships Festival today announced that they have postponed the 2020 edition of the festival.

“The Executive Committee of the Japan-America Society of Rhode Island has been closely monitoring the status of the Corona-virus (COVID 19) pandemic and how it is impacting our world.  As always, our goal is to build on the foundation of friendship, culture, goodwill and economic partnership between Rhode Island and Japan. In view of the current safety challenges facing all partners, we have decided to cancel the Black Ships Festival scheduled for June 12-14, 2020. This difficult decision was made in the interest of protecting our members and guests during this troubling time”, a statement from organizers states.

The Black Ships Festival was scheduled to host a variety of events in Bristol and Newport that emphasize both Japanese art and culture. Events were to include a formal Gala, Japanese Arts & Crafts such as Origami and Ikebana; Martial Arts, and a Japanese Tea Ceremony. A highlight will be the Taiko Drums! 

There is hope that the festival may go on later this year;

 “We will closely monitor events as they unfold with the hope of re-scheduling the Black Ships Festival to a future date at the end of the Summer/ Early Fall to continue to honor the special relationship between Japan, Bristol, Newport and all of Rhode Island” the statement concludes. 

As of today, Newport Shimoda Sister City Celebration, scheduled for July 11 – 14, has not announced or posted about a cancellation or postponement.

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to